Thursday, April 28, 2011

Journey to Israel - Chapter 12

Chapter 12 - Easter Sunday, 3/26/89

Words cannot begin to express the overwhelming feelings of being at the Garden Tomb for an Easter sunrise service. It was as though the women had just run and told me that the tomb was empty and Jesus is Alive! I had to go see for myself.

As over 1,000 of us from around the world walked down the path to the garden, we began to lift our voice in song to Him: “He is Lord, He is Lord, He has risen from the dead and He is Lord!” The birds were chirping, the sun was shining brightly, the garden was in full bloom, a choral group was singing beautiful songs of praise. We worshipped together for an hour, and my tears flowed freely the whole time. My Savior lives! “Thank You, Jesus, Thank You, Jesus, Thank You, Lord, for loving me!”

At the close of the worship service we took our turns going into the empty tomb. There was an iron grate guarding the actual place where Jesus’ body had laid, but I could stand within two feet of it, and I could see where the rock had been prepared for the head of the body, an indentation. I just stood there in awe that my Lord had actually laid there for three days, and then came out of there in triumph...over His death and mine! Praise Him!! I was so excited when I got back to our room that afternoon, I called Paul, who was still asleep for it was the middle of the night in Tennessee. All I could say to him was, “I’ve been to the tomb, and IT IS EMPTY!!!!!”

After we left the Garden Tomb we went to the Mount of Olives Church of God, where they had prepared an American style breakfast for us. What a delicious treat that was. We were getting a little tired of dry rolls, boiled eggs, olives, and cottage cheese---our breakfast every other morning except Easter. The 25 of us from Lee College had the privilege of being the “Lee Singers” choir that morning as we worshipped with that church congregation after breakfast.

We spent the afternoon in the Old City of Jerusalem, which is a cultural experience. There were narrow little alleys lined with stores on both sides, little narrow shops. We learned very quickly that the shop owners like to bargain, so shopping was almost like playing a game of Monopoly, bargaining over a piece of property. Sometimes the alleys became so crowded, we were just moved along with the crowd, with little control over where we went. There were a few scuffles between patrolling guards and people selling their wares, perhaps illegally.

We spent some time in modern Jerusalem also. It has streets and sidewalk cafes, but the shop owners still liked to bargain. We had a lot of fun with the bargaining process. American dollars are very welcome there.

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